United front needed to beat coronavirus
The coronavirus pandemic has confirmed once and for all that we live in a “global living room.”
I got a message on Facebook this morning that read, “Now all of us have someone we love infected with the coronavirus. Tom Hanks the movie star and his wife have contacted the virus while filming in Australia.”
Don and I came down to our farm to spend a month away from crowds that would expose us to the annual flu bug. Little did we know that an even fiercer virus was lurking in the air this year. It is easy to feel that the woods and remoteness of our farm insulates us from the worries of the greater society. If we had looked closer at the natural landscape itself, we would have known better, for nature itself is a barometer of life.
This morning, as we watched the morning news, the reports by medical professionals, economic experts, security officers and governmental entities all pointed to the negative global effects of the coronavirus. As health in our society disintegrated, it knocked down additional seemingly disconnected people, places and conditions.
What do cruise ships, the elderly, the Asian stock market and March Madness have in common? The answer: everything.
As the old song goes, we are not on an island and no man stands alone. What each of us individually does affects what is around us and that, in turn, affects an even broader natural and man-made environment. Although we have always been a species living in tandem with everything else in the cosmos, it is technology that has made this situation clearer.
As we watched the news, my three kids began their routine of sending text messages. Here we were, four people in different states and towns, carrying on a fluid, real-time conversation. We all watched the same news, we all faced the same virus and we all had the same questions as to how to respond to looming threats.
Later, I texted a friend traveling in Ireland to find out what was happening there. In a minute and a half, she had received my text and responded. She had seen the same news, had the same questions and was aware of what was not only around her in a foreign land, but back at home in Indiana.
The reality of everything being interconnected goes far beyond the 2020 coronavirus pandemic. If our environment is ravaged, mankind is also destroyed as we humans are an integral part of the total natural environment. If we can’t sustain a healthy environment, the environment can’t sustain us.
Our global living room is a small planet in the web of an interrelated cosmos in which we share the same physical laws of nature and chemical elements.
As I sit here at my computer, my cell phone keeps dinging, indicating that a news flash of the pandemic has come in. In the morning, the shut downs were limited to huge crowds, some schools, some travel and stocked grocery shelves. Now, later in the day, most sporting events have been canceled, Broadway shows are closed and the New York Stock Exchange has continued its erratic swings. By the time this column reaches you, many more of our social, economic and health care practices will have been altered.
Physical walls will not keep us safe from alien forces, be they diseases or men of war. Foreign enemies are currently threating our country through cyber invasions. They aren’t as visible as warriors of old that threatened a country with swords drawn, but they are much more effective in altering life as we know it.
A Russian troll operation has just been discovered working from a base in Africa and aimed at creating unrest in America by setting us against each other.
One of our problems is we don’t understand everyone living in our global living room. We don’t even know or understand those who are sitting next to us on the same couch.
I watched the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives explain a piece of legislation that was being drafted to mitigate the economic effects of the virus on working families. Later, I heard the president say that he wouldn’t consider the legislation as he felt it did not represent his political views. How are we ever going to get along with those who live on the other side of the globe or on another planet in our universe if we can’t work together in our own country in an emergency?
Current marital divorce rates indicate we often can’t get along with those to whom we are the closest.
During the Second World War, we had a scrap pile in the center of our little town. People threw in metal objects to be melted into war weapons. As a little kid, it showed me that I was part of something bigger than my own wants and needs. I saw in that pile iron fences, children’s metal wagons and discarded food cans. It was the war effort, and we all joined hands to help.
I wonder, does it take a common enemy like a war to unite us as a people who dwell on a planet called Earth? Is not the coronavirus a war?
I do believe it is our confirmation of our oneness with all of life that will save us.